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Bruyneel Talks: DNA Tests, Basso & Lance Armstrong, Marathon Man

By Tim Maloney-European Editor

Reached at his home in Madrid, Discovery Channel director sportif Johan Bruyneel was asked by Cyclingnews for his point of view about the recent polemics over DNA testing for riders as proposed at the recent AIGCP (International Association of Pro Cycling Teams) meeting in Paris. Bruyneel explained that "I wasn't present at the meeting, but I can say that I don't believe that it's up to the teams to come up with new rules. The intentions are good, but I'm a team manager, not an attorney, and when certain decisions are taken, sometimes the further consequences have to be considered. The teams really don't have a specific competence in this area; it's really the place of the governing body of cycling, [the UCI]."

Discovery Channel has yet to announce their 2007 roster, and in recent weeks the rumor-mill has been churning out links to the team that Bruyneel has had to respond to. One rider that is frequently mentioned is Italian Ivan Basso. Bruyneel wasn't revealing much when we asked him about the possibility of Basso coming to Discovery Channel, saying "It's true that we have always said when Basso's case is resolved, we will talk to him, but we still haven't gotten together on this [with Basso]."

As of yet, nothing is definite from either side. Currently in Japan representing Full Speed Ahead at a bike show, Ivan Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport's Luca Gialanella that "Discovery Channel has been the only ProTour team with the budget and room for me. But I'm not afraid to ride in a smaller team that can grow with me. When I went to CSC in 2004, it wasn't such a big team, and there are a lot of good racers available [like his friends Nardello and Peron - ed.] who will come along to create a winning squad."

We then asked Bruyneel if he had give Lance Armstrong any advice about running his first marathon next Sunday at the New York Marathon. Bruyneel laughed and said "yes, I have. I told Lance to take it easy at first, to pace himself and he would finish well. I know Lance and even if he hasn't been able to prepare himself exactly the way he wanted to for the New York Marathon, he can do well."

Armstrong has said that he hasn't been able to run longer than 15 miles to prepare for the 26.2 mile marathon distance and that he has been feeling some pain in his left hip flexors. We asked Bruyneel if he though that the hyper-competitve Armstrong would be able to stomach being passed by more experienced marathoners if he started at a gentle pace in New York, and Bruyneel just laughed again as he thought of Armstrong's competitive drive and said "he knows he has to."

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